Thursday, 13 September 2012

John 9: Getting dirty

In John 5, we saw how the Pharisees failed to see the bigger picture. Today, in John 9, two different types of blindness at work.

  • Do you sometimes wonder why bad things happen?
  • Do you think God punishes you for doing wrong?

Here we have a man who has been blind since the day he was born. The disciples then question why he was blind by asking whether it was his sin or his parents' sin that caused his disability. Quite often we find ourselves asking God the why questions. Why did that happen? Was it because of something the did?

Jesus' answer is really interesting. He says that, "this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him." He saying, don't concern yourself about what caused it, concern yourself about God being glorified. Quite often we're too focused on the negative and the problem to see the good; we're too preoccupied with the sin to see how God's transforming grace can be realised.

I'm sure I've mentioned this metaphor before but it's worth repeating. Someone wise once told me that you have a choice to be one of two types of people: a dirt digger or a jewel digger. The dirt digger looks for the bad in people and seeks to expose that; whilst a jewel digger seeks to find the good, polish it up and show it to the world. I get the feeling that the Pharisees are dirt diggers, they always seek the bad and are quick to point that out. We see this in verse 34, when they are eager to say that the blind man was "steeped in sin since birth." They use the dirt of others for their own personal gain. But there's one thing you must remember: you can't dig dirt without getting dirty yourself.

Towards the end of the chapter Jesus says that he came so that those who were blind can see. It's a brilliant passage, where the ones who have been seeing all their life are accused of being blind to the facts around them and the one who has just received sight is able to see.

Jesus, although the only person who has the right to see the sin in others, is always first to see the potential in them. I think it's because he can truly recognise the image of God in each of us. This is where the Pharisees fail, and, if I'm honest I do too. Let us be a people that loves to see the signs of God's love, transformation and grace even in the most desperate of people and situations.

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